We love the phrase they use for TV advertisements in South Korea—Commercial Films, or CFs. It almost makes you think that these aren’t ads designed to make you buy stuff, but works of art—well-made cinematic masterpieces with big budgets and artistic merit. And to be honest, some of these CFs really are beautiful. And the celebs who star in them get paid huge bucks to endorse these brands and products. The money they make from these films, which can be shown on TV or on online platforms such as YouTube, are on top of the moolah they rake in from starring in K-dramas, and from album sales and concerts.
Suffice to say, these artists are very, very wealthy. Here are some of the top CF stars of South Korea in 2021.
1. BTS: US$55.1 million
Remember the McDonald’s BTS meal in June last year? The world’s hottest pop group made a cool US$8.5 million from that campaign. Granted, they have to split it among the seven of them, but still. While much of the world was still languishing in 2021, the BTS boys made 65 billion won (US$55.1 million) through commercials alone.
Among their memorable CFs last year was the ad to promote Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip3 phone, which was a snazzily-produced music video involving huge sets (including a subway train) and lots of dancing. Not to mention their continuing ambassadorship with car brand Hyundai, where they shoot high-budget music videos in exotic locales and shiny ad spots which surely involve plenty of pre- and post-production. Their CF for sports and athleisure brand Fila’s Fall 2021 collection was also on point, and who could forget all the amazing visuals and that stunning fashion film when they officially joined luxury label Louis Vuitton as brand ambassadors last year?
Despite the pandemic, BTS appeared in plenty of ads, and are the undisputed CF kings of Korean showbiz, while also dominating the music charts, social media… and the world?